About a week ago I deliberately stopped writing columns that were direct responses to the madness of the Donald Trump presidency and looked at a few other topics of interest to me and my readers. Then, I took a few days off to recharge and cosset my slowly returning health a little bit. Then this little story popped up and refused to go away, thanks to the Tangerine Titan’s refusal to acknowledge having made profoundly racist remarks about a federal judge who is trying a case against him and his pretend “university”. (I use the “scare” quotes here advisedly; Trump calls it a university; the city of New York doesn’t; and the law calls it a fraud.) So it looks like we’re back at it whether I like it or not.
Avoid 5th Avenue If Trump is Nearby
(VANCOUVER ISLAND) By now pretty much everyone is aware of the bare bones of the uproar. Trump University and its staff and owners are being sued by former clients in a series of class action suits, for fraudulently misrepresenting the school and what it offered. According to the plaintiffs, and the documents that have already been released, as well as the testimony taken at depositions, the defendants ran a classic bait-and-switch scam deliberately set up to fleece its victims with a particular focus on the most vulnerable.
The plaintiffs claim that little was taught regarding the promised real estate wisdom, Trump’s hand-picked faculty consisted of totally unqualified people of whom Trump couldn’t name a single one, their promised personal interaction with Trump consisted of their being photographed next to a cardboard cut out of the defendant at their graduation, the campus was non-existent, and classes were merely seminars held in large function rooms of hotels. Moreover, they allege, the introductory classes were merely exercises in flogging ever more expensive seminars, some costing over $35,000.00
With that as a backdrop, the latest outrage exploded when Trump brought the case up at a rally and then suggested that the federal judge trying the case, Gonzalo Curiel, was biased and had been expressing his hatred of Donald Trump by handing down rulings with which the plaintiff disagrees. Not content to let that bit of character assassination stand on its own, Trump went on to point out that he and his people “believed” that Curiel, an American citizen born in Indiana, but of Latino heritage, was Mexican (which, according to Trump, was fine, it was great; he’s going to do very well with the Mexicans).
But this was no Trumpian slip of overheated hyperbolic rhetoric; for one thing, Trump actually had that nonsense in a prepared set of notes he made his best effort to read. Moreover, he has doubled, tripled, and quadrupled down on that inane accusation since then by pointing out what, to him, is the obvious. Curiel: Mexican. Trump: Building a wall, okay? Ergo, conflict of interest. What are you, a loser? Try to keep up, will you?
But the best part was when he was asked point blank if he didn’t believe that saying that Curiel was incapable of doing his job, specifically because of his race, wasn’t the very definition of racism, he looked baffled and said no, he didn’t believe so. After having delivered that response, an answer that was almost as preposterous as his coiffure, he must have run home and looked up the definition of “racism” and then alerted his damage control thugs. Since then, the lunatic fringe, right wing media has been digging into Curiel’s life in an ex post facto exercise in desperately attempting to uncover some protective covering for Trump’s outspoken bigotry. Stories of Curiel’s association with a Latino lawyer’s association have been trotted out along with every association that association has ever had. Smoking guns are apparently everywhere. It seems now, in the Trump alternate universe, that Justice Curiel is, in fact, the racist and Trump his victim. By the time the Trump minions have done their job, Gonzalo Curiel will have been pilloried as a rabid Mexican terrorist, regardless of any absence of supporting evidence. He will be buried in an avalanche of lies and invective; he will have become an international celebrity, without having made a public appearance or having uttered a word outside of the requirements of his judicial responsibilities.
Although he is a distinguished judge who has been praised for his courage as a public prosecutor when he proceeded against Mexican drug cartels in the face of very credible death threats, having encountered Donald Trump, he will now have his life shaken up. He is already a more controversial jurist than any since Lance Ito. Because Curiel is an ethical man and has always lived by a strict code, he has remained, thus far, silent on the controversy; he is, after all, a sitting judge trying a case, the defendant of which is running for president of the United States. But it would be both undignified and unethical to respond to a defendant’s out-of-court statements, regardless of who the defendant was. Dignity and ethics. Trump’s people should run out and get him definitions of those words too while they’re trying to understand the definition of racism.
The campaign’s strategy at this point seems to be that, if Trump can start a social media war with the judge or his supporters, the lack of impartiality he will have created will disqualify Curiel; Trump appears to be creating a situation in which his accusations become true, not on their merit, but because he made them in the first place. See, how can he be impartial when I have ruined his career and forced him to take his kids out of school because of fear of my supporters?
Therefore, Trump, being Trump, took it even further into the repugnant stew of half-thought-out hatreds that serve him for rationality. In response to a direct question, he agreed that probably a Muslim judge would be equally disqualified from trying a Trump case. So presumably would be a woman, a black judge, or a Chinese judge; as Stephen Colbert pointed out, it seems that the judicial robes of the only qualified people to judge Trump would be white and come with a matching hood.
It is an open question as to whether Trump has any core beliefs; the evidence is that, outside of his own greatness, he doesn’t. Trump, of course, is a textbook narcissist. Narcissistic personality disorder can be a very dangerous mental aberration in a person with great power, and Trump has demonstrated time and again that he is inclined to abuse the considerable power he already wields as a corporate leader. He has demonstrated his thin skin countless times by his tendency to lash out viciously as those who ask him legitimate questions or decline to give him a free pass on his more outrageous lies. He has expressed his willingness to see a virtually unlimited proliferation of nuclear weapons to everyone from the Koreans to Lilliputians. He has promised to expand the already bloated American military. He has frequently mentioned his approval of torture and the murder of innocent family members of those he suspects of terroristic leanings.
So, please, any Trump supporter who reads this. Please tell me what you think of a world in which a demonstrably mentally unstable, racist, thin skinned plutocrat, who loves violence and brutality but hates non-white, non-Americans, and is the commander in chief of the most powerful and heavily armed force in history, has the power to destroy the world in a fit of pique? This is the world you advocate. What on earth is wrong with you? And especially after this week in which Trump has worked very hard to prove that he is not fit for public office, much less the highest one, please…just what could Trump do that would make you reconsider your support? He has already ridiculed you by telling us that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and you’d still be stupid enough to vote for him. Does he have to prove that to you? Or does he have to launch the missiles to convince you that he actually, literally, means the idiotic, truculent, vicious things he says?
With Donald Trump’s tiny little finger on the nuclear switch, what could possibly go wrong?